A Week of “what the?!? I hate Cars!” – Part One

Okay, so maybe I don’t ‘hate’ cars, but I do dislike how utterly relied upon mine has become. Let me tell you a story, or two, or three.  A long time ago, in a far away place…  Oh, wait, that’s not right.

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 22, 2013

It was a miserably cold, wet/snowy afternoon.  I was finally free for the weekend! Hooray, the only thing left to do was make it out of the parking lot and head for home!  Now, here’s the thing about my parking lot at work.  Normally it is a quiet place, nothing to worry about…until 5pm hits…then all hell breaks loose!  Everyone makes a mad dash for their cars, and if you aren’t fast enough you are dodging speeding vehicles jockeying for position to be first out of the lot.

I made it! In one piece, carefully pulled out of my spot and got to the lineup at the exit.  I felt like it took forever just to get out onto the road.  Headed for a stop sign and awaited my chance to turn right onto the highway.  When I finally saw my opening, I gunned it out of there…but wait, ‘something’s wrong!?!’  I got half way around the corner and….nothing.  Car stops dead, won’t start..’what the?!?’

Oh yeah, apparently cars need gas!  I would’ve filled it, however my gas gauge has been broken for a year now.  I’ve been relying solely on my trip meter, once it gets to 350kms I know I am close to needing a fill-up.  ‘Wait, what’s that?  The trip meter only says 352kms, there’s no way!’  Then I remember.  A friend borrowed my car three weeks ago.  He took it out of town, and when he returned he re-filled the tank to full, but didn’t know how to reset the trip meter.  He said he did some minor running around and I figured it was okay to reset when I got the car back…apparently that was a bad idea.

Now, my car is sitting halfway around a corner, my husband is not answering the phone, and there’s a transport truck wanting to turn right….Fantastic!  People are driving past honking at me, the transport driver is honking at me as he just nearly misses the rear end of my car, and what’s this?  Now people are giving me the finger, like I can just snap my fingers and make the car move!

With the last bit of battery power in my cell I text the sitter to say I’m going to be late and call my friend, ‘please pick up, please pick up….’

“Mander! Ya just caught me on my way out of town!  What’s up?”  Carl sounds slightly concerned, I only ever call his wife, never him.  I explain my situation, half in tears.  He says he’s on his way, with gas…whew… ‘what to do now?’  I need to get my car the frick of the road!

I look around and around, finally it hits me, “hey you! In the bus stop!  Could you help me push my car over to the shoulder.”  He doesn’t look like much, but we’ll have to make this work!  So, it’s less-than-fit me and the skinny white boy, “1-2-3 PUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSHHH!” And nothing happens…”did you put it in Neutral?” Asks skinny white boy.

“Did you just ask me that?  Of course I put it in neutral!”  One of my co-workers has now pulled to the side of the road to help…she’s in about the same shape as me.  I put Nina at the front of the car to steer, whilst me and the stranger are pushing for all we’re worth…the car moves!  A half inch.

Nina comes around to the back of the car, “I’ll just jump in my car and gently nudge your car off to the side, you get in the driver seat and put her in neutral when ya see me coming!”  This seems like a really bad idea to me, but what other option do I have right now?  No one else seems to be stopping, even though just one more person could get the job done.

Nina is just about in her car, when FINALLY another co-worker stops…great, it’s my supervisor, this isn’t embarrassing at all!  After she is done laughing at me (no worries, I’m laughing now too), we put Nina back at the front and between the four of us manage to get the car pushed onto the shoulder and out of harm’s way.

Everyone gets an ever so grateful hug from me and they all depart, leaving me…alone…with a car that won’t start.  Five minutes later Carl shows up, without gas.

“So, do you have a jerry can?” Apparently Carl doesn’t keep his in the SUV because his wife lost the cap.  I advise that I do not have one, so we hop into his vehicle and head to his house.

Half an hour later we are back at my vehicle with his uncapped jerry can, after driving down the road with windows wide open.  Might I remind you it was a miserably cold, wet evening.  Carl pumps the gas into my car, and I start her up.  “Thank you so much! Put the can in my trunk and I’ll drop it at your house so you can get going on your trip.”  I pop the trunk and to my surprise there’s an empty jerry can just sitting there, waiting to be used.  Wow, I could’ve saved us twenty minutes!  Damnit all anyways!

Carl leaves and I pull off onto the highway, my car dings once CHANGE OIL SOON.  ‘Okay, I can handle that, something I can do this weekend.’  I head straight for the nearest gas station and make the tank happy once again.  I start heading for home and the car dings again LOW WASHER FLUID.  ‘Are you F-ing kidding me!?!  How thirsty can one car be?’

I gave up, I headed for home and hibernated for the remainder of the evening.  Good thing I didn’t have to make dinner.

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 23, 2013

Hubby informs me that due to extenuating cash-flow circumstances I will have to wait one more week before I can get an oil change.  ‘No problem’ I think, ‘I can at least find her some washer fluid.’  So, I run off to pick up my friend Sally for our weekly coffee date and mall jaunt.

We head to Tim’s first, gotta get that roll-up cup, then to wander the mall!  We end our window shopping and our coffees at Canadian Tire.  While there to purchase washer fluid, I happen to notice that there is a $60 frying pan on sale for $15, “I’m not leaving that behind!” I say. While trying to find one that does not have a scratch in the teflon coating, I set my coffee down.  We proceed to pick up the washer fluid and head to the checkout.  It is not until I am halfway home that I realize, “I left my coffee on the shelf and didn’t roll up the rim!”  Oh man!  Well, I hope whoever finds it rolls the rim and wins something.

~TO BE CONTINUED~

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My Outdoor Adventure in Mexico (2010)

If you ever go to Puerto Vallarta, be sure to find your nearest Vallarta Adventures rep and sign up for the Outdoor Adventure.  It is definitely worth your money.  Though everyone’s experience is different, here’s my account of the day as it unfolded.  Have a good laugh, I know a few who already have.  I ony hope that I can write the story as well as I can tell it.

It started at 11:15am.  We took a cab to the Vallarta Adventures HQ (85 Pesos), and signed a waiver agreeing that we will do exactly as told by the guides.  We were also previously advised not to take cameras or valuables, as they would be useless.  At 11:30 (or so) about twelve of us were piled into a speed boat and shipped across to the main port in Puerto Vallarta where another 18 people were picked up at the docks.  From there it was a 45min ride to the a little town called Garbova (I think).

We were then split into two groups of 15 people each and piled into old military trucks.  And when I say old, I mean putt putt bang!  We were advised to sit 7 people per side.  Once all in, one guy was left standing, “Uh…where do I sit?” he asked nervously.  Then the driver closed the tail gate and there was another seat, hopefully that gate is closed properly!

So we all buckled in, then looked up an saw handles hanging from the roof, that’s just a scary thought in itself, If I am buckled in, why do I need a handle?  And with a putt putt bang, we were off!  Up the winding city streets, and down the highway, off onto a dirt side road, and we realized why the handles were important. Talk about a bumpy ride!  Over rocks, and through a stream, up hill, down hill, the truck swaying dangerously from one side to the other.  Okay, maybe not dangerously, but it was a little sketchy here and there.

A half hour later we were backed into a parking space at the outdoor adventure starting point.  All together, we were told it was last chance to have a bathroom break for the next three hours.  Also, we were asked to place all valuables, sunglasses, and anything that must stay dry into a canvas bag to be stored for later.  I of course hear this and say, “can I keep my sunglasses?  They’re prescription!”

“Of course, we don’t want you to fly into a tree!”  Then we were each fitted into a bandana, helmet, and harness.

“Wha’s yer name?” One of the guides looks to my new husband, “Jon, you have big head, need a bigger helmet over here! Where you from? Ah, Canada, what you do there?  Tortillas?  Oh, little tortilla man!  That’s what we call you today!”

Once we were all geared up and ready to go, they led us up a small path, and asked to sit on a bench.  This is where we were provided instructions on how to ride a donkey.  The guide starts with, “the donkeys, they don’t speak the english.  They are mexican donkeys, so you gonna learn some spanish today!”  To get the donkeys to go, we are to kick and kiss the air, to get them to stop, we pull on the reigns and say “Woah!”   Pretty simple, right?  This is where you are really gonna start laughing.

Each person is matched up with a donkey by size and personality (supposedly).  I get picked last, they looked at me, looked at the three or four donkeys left, back at me, then pull out a quiet shy looking one.  They help me onto the donkey, and off we go.  Not so bad at first.  I am at the end of the pack, save for the guide following behind, to make sure everyone makes it to the top.  I see Jon up ahead, no problem, I  can handle this.  Kiss, kiss, and off we go!

Suddenly I realized, they matched me up with a smart-ass!  No pun intended!  Damn ass took off like a bat outta hell!  “Woah, woah!”  Finally, she slows down, right up behind the middle guide, my donkey literally kissing his ass.

“Senorita, your donkeys too fast…”  the guide says with a laugh.  I apologize to him, as I do not know how to make my donkey go any slower.  You know what works?  When the donkey in front of you lets one rip.  “Sorry amiga!  One too many tacos for this one last night!”  OMG!!!!!!

Next time we are on flat ground, I look back and noticed that somewhere along the line we managed to pass Jon.  I look back ahead and zoom!  Off we go running again!  This time I don’t have so much control and I hear a few of the guides behind me sounding worried, “Amiga, Amiga!”  It’s okay, I got control again, just in time to be helped off the dumb ass, again, no pun intended.  Then it was a small hike up some steps and seated on benches again.  This time it was to be briefed about our harness equipment.

Super easy!  We don’t have to worry about any part of our equipment, no touchy!  The guides will clip us off and on all zip lines and ropes, all we need to worry about is having fun!  FUN?  Jon’s the one who convinced me that I would be okay, but I am still not sure at this point.  And I am still trying to recover from that donkey ride!

Among their instructions they suggest we keep our right hand up behind our head to break and to keep us from spinning.   Also, never put your left hand in front of your equipment when zipping down, unless you don’t want to keep your fingers, duh!  And we’re off to the first line.  Wire rope, 1000 ft long and approx 100 ft up.  “Don’t break” they say, “just let yourself go!”  Jon and I are the last two to go, and gentleman that he is, suggests I go first!  Great, thanks hun!  “Are you ready amiga?  No?  Off you go!”

In moments I am across, not so bad?  Maybe next time I keep my eyes open.  I thought I was okay, until they reminded me “there’s only seven more.”  SEVEN!?  Oh dear god, and those are all rope zip lines, not as fast, but rope.   I don’t know about this…  The next two make me a little more confident.  Especially considering one of the guides told me that I was one of the only ones to make it across the first without spinning out of control.  Oh, and BTW, throughout the trip, we are to keep an eye open for a guy in a orange/yellow helmet.  His name is Oscar and he is our paparazzi for the day!  You can only imagine the images he got of me.

So, we get to the next one…imagine my suprise when they go to hook me on, and it is STRAIGHT DOWN!  I can tell you, as much as I didn’t enjoy the first one, this was AWFUL!  At least it didn’t take too long, look on the bright side, right?!   Across another zip line, then its over a wooden bridge, made of two by fours strapped together with rope railings on either side, down a few steps, and we’re at the rappelling portion of the trip. I didn’t realize I signed up for last 10lbs bootcamp!

Waterfall rappell.  90ft down.  Hooked up, and told to lean back into the harness.  Keep right hand near ass to break, feet apart, and walk normally.  Normally?  Are you kidding me?  There’s nothing normal about walking backwards at a 90 degree angle next to a waterfall.  I get about 6ft from the bottom when the guide yells, “Ok, now jump Amanda!”  I jumped into the water, which by this point was ALOT colder than me.  “Swim to me Amanda!”  I am kicking with all my might, but the waterfall just keeps pulling me back, the guide shakes his head, starts to laugh, then says, “okay, take my hand.”

Up and out of the water, it’s off to another two zip lines, whew almost done!  Across another bridge, and we are ready to…wait for it…Freefall Rappell, 90 ft.  Same as the waterfall, only no walking, just let yourself drop slowly.  It’s okay if you lose grip with your break hand, the person at the bottom can stop you!  Right, that makes me feel good.  Jon went first this time.  Then me, according to him, I took a LONG time getting down, so they told him to go on ahead without me.

Of course when I got to the bottom and he had gone on ahead without me I got mad.  He should have told them “we’re newlyweds, if I leave her, I die!”  It’s okay though, not as bad as the thought that occured to me whilst I meandered through the woods by myself.  I am pretty sure that the two guides behind me are making fun of me in Spanish,  “silly white girl can’t keep up…noob!”    They were laughing pretty hard about something, and I am pretty sure it wasn’t a knock-knock joke.

Up and across, and up and across…to the very top and one last zip line.  They called it Homerun, two zip lines side by side.  And they were sending couples down.  They figured because girls are smaller, and therefore move slower than the guys, they should give them each a push!  It was a race dontcha know?  Not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty sure I beat Jon!

Finally another lengthy jaunt through the forest, through the winding river about a half dozen times, and back to base camp.  Once there, we took off all our gear and returned the bandanas (I had hoped to keep mine, but no).  We sat for a “de-briefing” and to discuss what was our favorite parts.  Mind you, no one said the donkey ride.  Mine was the zip lining, after all that, it was my favorite part!  Imagine that!

We stopped for a drink and some nachos, paid for our pic ($15 US for one pic, $30 US for all pics of one person, or $58 for all pics of  couples).  I only got one pic, and afterwards wished I had paid the $30, but life goes on.  Once our truck was ready, we piled back in, again 7 to each side, and one on the tailgate.  Then just as we were about to leave, one of the employees decided to hitch a ride to the bus stop down the highway.  He must’ve been used to riding in the truck standing up, cause he didn’t seem to have any trouble with the bumpy ride back down the mountain towards the highway.

Once back at the docks, waiting for the other group and the boat to return, we sat down in a hut.  Some drank a few cervesa, while others, like us, just sat around and discussed who was from where and what they did. By that point Jon and I had both looked at our knees, Oh My!  Remember the speed boat ride there?  Apparently we BOTH forgot to put sunscreen on our knees.  We now have matching sunburns from lower thigh to mid knee.  OUCH!

Back into the speed boat, dropped the other adventurers off at the Main Port, and back to head office.  We returned to our hotel by about 6pm, went for a swim, dinner, then off to bed early!  What an adventurous day, I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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